Time for a new era

Time for a new era

The only true way is to write from the heart. Speak always from your heart and people will listen.

I am so much more than these travel stories and journeys you’ve been able to find here on this blog. I love a lot of things- I don’t fit in to ONE niche. 

I refuse to be caged, limited or change my heart to fit into your boxes of definitions.

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Food Haven in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

In 2013, I wrote an article about the best places to eat in Puerto Viejo- you can read it below. Already back then it was hard to choose which places to include on the list and nowadays it's even more difficult as more places are popping up! Puerto Viejo is indeed a Food Haven with its many delicacies in every street corner. The Farmers' Market has almost doubled in size and, nowadays, also includes local handicrafts, skin products, chocolate and everything from salsa picante to tofu. Last week I got the hands on the last bag of cooked pejibayes and kale- happy! My point is, I am now extending the food list with a new organic, vegan friendly café and the always magical ayurvedic pirate.

Como en Mi Casa Art Café

When I first got to Puerto Viejo I remember there was a beautiful woman with a loving smile that sold brownies on the beach. Later on I bought her delicious cakes and food as she sold them in the market. And so one day she wasn't there anymore and I wondered what had happened to the amazing food I used to snack on Saturdays. Last year Como en mi Casa opened and I found the woman and her magical food art again. Their menu is simple traditional breakfast, snack and lunch. Their creations are colourful, flavourful, arty, innovative and pure bliss in your mouth. Everything is organic and made from scratch and there is a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and raw options. The owners are Italian and not only know their food, but their coffee! 

In this place I eat delicious food, created for all senses and made with true love; my body feels strengthened and happy; and my heart is filled with warm joy after each food experience. Gratitude. 

 

Puerto Pirata Deli

Since the first day I ate the ayurvedic food made by pirates, it has been one of my favourite places where I keep coming back. Located in the town's oldest building, it is literally ON the beach and offers a true Pura Vida vibe. The magical woman who runs the place is an Ayurvedic nutritionist with Nigerian and Italian roots- which offers a flavourful, healthy and innovative food medicine menu. This, too, is a place for great coffee, breakfast and lunch, and is of course vegetarian, with vegan and gluten free options. The other day I asked for a "vegan surprise" as dessert and was served a vegan mango ice cream with a vegan carrot cake on top- yum! So much Love.

 Brunch by Puerto Pirata Deli Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Brunch by Puerto Pirata Deli Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

When you are in the Caribbean you also have to try the Rice and Beans made with coconut. It differs greatly from the tico rice and beans and is (also) delicious! Any local place in town will serve Rice and Beans with patacones. Have you tried the various rice and beans dishes- which one is your favourite? Comment below!

Pura Vida

 

 

Top 3 Places to Eat in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

About a four hours bus ride south east of Costa Rica’s capital San José lays the relaxed reggae town and culinary paradise called Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. If you are a food-loving traveler this village is a must-visit! Puerto Viejo has an interesting mix of cultures including the Afro Caribbean heritage, expats from Europe and United States and of course Tico influences in its blend. To me, this cultural vibe is what defines the town and part of what makes it special. To be sure to truly experience the culture of Puerto Viejo I recommend eating your way around town. Below I have listed my top three places to eat and drink, enjoy!

1.    The Farmers’ market

The local farmers’ market is held Saturday mornings in the center of the small town. Head towards Casa de la Cultura and you’ll see it! This is the place to find the food you can’t get in the regular super market. Beside cheap organic fruits and vegetables, there is locally produced cheese (including feta!) and milk, chocolate and coconut oil to mention some goodies. Tasty and different kinds of cheese are in general hard to find in Costa Rica, since Ticos like their cheese simple and without flavor. This could be hard on a cheese loving European visitor but the solution is to visit the farmers’ markets.

 Farmers' Market Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Farmers' Market Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Personally, I like to make my visits to the organic market in Puerto Viejo a half-day event. This friendly environment is where you mingle with people from all areas around Puerto, buy veggies for the week and maybe get a vegetarian empanada for lunch. There are vendors selling yummy and healthy cakes, juices and pies to please your appetite as you are walking around. In addition, you can buy environment friendly and handmade soap, clothes and more. One time I even found organic tahini! (edit: now standard)

2.    CariBean

I am sure you think you have had chocolate before. Maybe even good, dark, pure chocolate. Visit CariBean and no other chocolate will ever satisfy you again (you have been warned!). At OM Yoga café in Cocles you can buy healthy snacks, breakfast and lunch. Their selection of cakes is varied and baked buy different local cake magicians. But there is more. CariBean at Om Yoga is the place I visit when I need a boost of energy: a chocolate espresso. Yes, you heard me! Thick, dark, soft cacao in a shot gives you a refill with antioxidants and healthy energy. The owners practice sustainable ecological farming on their cacao farm, located behind the house, where they make the chocolate by hand. Be sure not to miss the chocolate tour where you learn about producing, try surprising flavours and enjoy Puerto Viejo’s best view.

 Chocolate Tasting Tour, CariBean's Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Chocolate Tasting Tour, CariBean's Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

3.    Bread and Chocolate

This breakfast and lunch place is probably the most famous restaurant in Puerto Viejo. Before I had ever even been on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, my friends living on the other side of the country told me I had to visit Bread and Chocolate. They were right of course. Craving French coffee instead of that brewed stuff? This is the place to go. Choose from a bunch of creative and chocolaty cakes with innovative names to go with that. Or my personal favorite: veggie sandwich. They bake their own bread that is rich in flavor, not sweet and to some extent whole grained. There is a bunch of sandwiches to choose among and they are all served with fruit, green salad or potatoes. Since Bread and Chocolate is mentioned in Lonely Planet, it tends to crowd up quickly during high season so keep that in mind when you are planning your visit.

Highlights of 2014

2014 was not only the year of the Horse but also the year of Love and, WOW! How many great, magical and life altering moments and journeys I got to experience! Here is my attempt to summarise my travels within and without from 2014. Enjoy and please share your stories in the comments below! 

1.     Around Costa Rica and across Worlds

Starting the year off in one of my favourite countries, and one of the two I currently call “home”, by purging and cleansing and working in various traditional shamanic ceremonies such as the Temazcal (sweat lodge) and the meeting with Ayauaska. Many great journeys within oneself and between worlds are made in traditional ritual and ceremony, personally one of my favorite ways of traveling. I also got the chance to travel around Costa Rica together with my best friend and show him the magic of the country before heading on to the next adventure: Yoga Teacher Training in the desert! The adventures, travels and challenges were overlapping each other these first months of 2014! Thank you all – new and old- friends and family that helped make these voyages MAGICAL!  

2.     Space of Love

As I got back to Sweden in the start of summer, I was guided to visit a Yoga Festival on an island outside the east coast. Little did I know how those 2 weeks would continue the flow and journeys that started in Costa Rica and, at the same time be a trigger point for what would come next. It truly is a Space of, for and with Love. I met long lost friends and lovers- new to this lifetime, served the fire, encountered Grandfathers from the North and traditions completely new to me, and I experienced Love in ways I never knew of. Love, Connections and Journeys within and without with guidance from the medicines of song, dance, yoga, ceremony and human beings with big hearts. Thank You ALL! 

3.     Summer Love Tour

I continued the summer by touring Sweden together with my best friend. We had no plans as how to transport ourselves or where to end up on our way to the North and my family house. We packed yoga gear, food, a tent and all the necessities for camping- yes, we carried more than ever before on our backs! – and we hit the road. There is a special beauty and inspiration in traveling only by intuition and bare feet. We found ourselves creating connections on a yoga camp in the forest of Småland, catching up with old friends, and finding Light in the church. I taught yoga in the park and we got on buses and trains not knowing where to end up. We helped a shaman constructing a Shamanic Museum, danced with the drums and walked bare foot around Dalarna in pouring rain. We visited the native people of the North and learnt more about ancient wisdom; we camped with reindeers and created songs. And somewhere on the road we fell in love.  

4.     Skattungbyn

All the meetings and connections that were made during the sunny summer months led me further and towards new adventures. One of them being the Yoga Festival in Dalarna in October where I got to, once again, experience the magic of the deep forest and wild rivers, connect through love and rhythm, and share the wisdom of my drum and the ancient roots. Guiding a Yin and Drum class for about 50 people was incredible beyond words. I am so very grateful. Thank You Thank You.

5.     Liverpool & Wales

What seems to have started in July, with our Summer Love Tour, came to somewhat of a peak in early December. Me and my best friend went to visit the fairytales of northern Wales and my dancing soul sister Anahí. We watched a psychedelic Christmas parade, had a chat with the Hatter, followed the White Rabbit and we got engaged on the hills of the Welsh coast where the seals have their playground. Indeed, 2014 was a year filled with Love and magic, guided by the great Horse. Thank you all for participating in the ride! 

I ended my highlights of 2013 by saying: “My intentions for 2014 are to continue deeper into my spiritual journey, wherever in the world it may take me.” Summarizing 2014 showed me that I really did dive deeper into my spiritual journeys and practices and in ways and places I never could have imagine. I am grateful for everything I experienced through feelings, vision(s), hearing, touch, taste and smell. And I am grateful for being guided by the magic flow of life, always taking me to new challenges and journeys - within and without. I set my intentions for 2015 to be even more profound; deepening my spiritual practices and, thus, share the wisdoms with the world(s) even more! 

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Things I don’t Like About Costa Rica

or 6 Things I Forgot Exist In Paradise

We have a tendency to only remember the good things about a place, person or other memory that has faded to a smiling grey veil in the back of our head. And it is in fact hard to come up with a list of things I don’t like about Costa Rica - or things I had forgotten that I don’t like maybe. I have let this stew boil in my head for the last two days and I have not yet managed to come up with something that is easily digestible. However, I can tell you about the things I managed to forget during the time I was away. 

Here goes:

1. Ants. Ants in the bed. Ants in the computer. And, of course, ants in the kitchen. Scorpions inside when it’s raining. Maybe boa constrictors should go on here as well. Even though I like reptiles, I don’t want a snake to fall onto my mosquito net and down in to my bed when I’m sleeping. Basically, any animal I don’t like to have in my home but get to host any way qualifies here. I still love them, and the jungle, but you get my point.

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2. Con permiso. When entering someone’s house, this is what you have to remember saying, at least if you want to be polite and be part of the culture. I never remember. I want to remember. I really do. I know it is a significant cultural feature. I just NEVER remember. Nor answering propio in those cases I should (like after someone saying con permiso).

3. Toilet paper in basket and unreliable showers. The bathroom annoyance. Actually, I have never been annoyed with having to throw the paper in the basket instead of in the toilet; but it takes me a couple days to remember doing it. Not having a working shower (or a promised to be warm water shower that is freezing) on the other hand…. Yes, I admit it: it is annoying!

4. Being able to drink the tap water in Costa Rica. Just not in Puerto Viejo. It is such a blessing to be able to drink the tap water! It makes me both sad and annoyed that we don’t have that privilege on the Caribbean coast. I don’t like buying a lot of plastic, but I have to if I want to drink water. And if I forget buying water, then I don’t have anything to drink and remember this first when dinner is ready and the grocery store is closed. Always.

5. Mosquito nets. I usually don’t use one but depending on the house and how it is built, sometimes I have to. However, a net is not needed (depending on how you nervous you are about dengue that is) because of the mosquitos; there aren’t that many mosquitos here (if you think it is: go visit Northern Sweden during summer!). No, I want a net because of the rats and the mice and the gecko poo (that suddenly falls down from nowhere) and the huge grasshoppers or maybe some other flying creature that is lost. In some sleeping settings I simply prefer a net. But nets make me feel trapped so I don’t like it.

6. How you’re always out of lighters (or stuck with a bunch of non working lighters). You need a lighter for a lot of stuff around here, the most frequently situation is happening in the kitchen.

Reading this list, I realize it is a perfectly weird mix of nature/environment and language related issues. Seeing that those are some of my favorite fields, I understand I still have work to do. Great news in other words! I continue to be a humble student of the fascinating subjects that constitute life.

Speaking of, I will be offline and not reachable for the coming week or so. I will go to study indigenous traditions under the moon, and together with my sisters learn about the healing art of dance.

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Where in the world are you reading this? And what healing arts are your favorites to journeying with? Contribute in the comments below :)

Pura Vida

Highlights of 2013

According to the linear time made up by humans, the year of 2013 is coming to an end. As many do around this time of year, I am going to sum up some of the amazing experiences I’ve had during 2013. It has been a tumultuous year in many ways and my within-journeys deriving from my travels around the world have been great and profound. My intentions for 2014 are to continue deeper into my spiritual journey, wherever in the world it may take me.

Ok, so let’s sum up some extra good times!

 

1.    San José in February and March: This is festival time in Costa Rica and its capital. The classic Latin American Carnaval is being centered around Puntarenas, whereas the capital holds festivals like Transitarte. I especially enjoy these kinds of events, with street art and free concerts around Down Town San José and its city parks. The streets are buzzing with happy people and the bars are full even at daytime! Of course, February is also the month when the Moon Dance is held but that topic requires its own post. Some day I might tell you about it.

2.    Puerto Viejo January to May: The tiny village Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is the place in Costa Rica I call “home”. Sure, we have had our differences: humidity, unwanted animals in the house and cold- to mention a few. But it is impossible not to love this place. I get to wake up, in the jungle, to the sound of howler monkeys and have breakfast with hummingbirds and to do yoga while resting my eyes on the ocean waves rolling in to shore. Puerto Viejo is also the place to visit for a culinary experience and I’m sure you know that I love food! Organic, fresh from the garden, hand made chocolate, you name it Puerto got it!

I also had my sister staying with me for 4 whole months in this paradise, which is a true blessing! 

3.    The United States in May and June: I know some of you will smile reading this- having said I never wanted to go to the states. Of course, the reason it ends up on this list is the exact same reason I went there in the first place: visiting one of the most important persons in my life. What really made this trip special was to get to travel with my partner and him introducing me to his life in this culture that is so far away and yet so close to “my own” (what ever that is). Who would have known I’d go camping with a bunch of motorbikes in the Nevadan desert for instance? I love that life takes me to unexpected places.

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco 

4.    Sweden in July: I went from north to south this year basically. I have never before been to Österlen in the south east of Sweden and its spectacular nature and breath taking sceneries stuck to my heart. Summer is when Sweden shines in all her glory. Such a beautiful country! Sometimes I find Sweden and Costa Rica very much alike. For instance, the fact that nature varies greatly from place to place within both the two (small) countries.

One of the finest memories from the Österlen trip is when mom and me went to Kivik and ate for hours at the raw food restaurant. (Again: food!)

Norrland (Photo Credit: Ola Danielsson)

Norrland, Sweden (Photo Credit: Ola Danielsson)

Yes, it's a rain deer

Ale Stenar at Österlen

5.    Festivals in August: For August there is no better place to be than Småland. Heaps of stuff is going on all over: festivals, markets, harvest parties and what not. This year, I packed a car and went to a music festival in the forest. Mundekulla is about song, dance and love, created by and through the people attending. It will always warm my heart to think about it and I hope I get the chance to return every year.

My partner in crime (at least when it comes to yoga) and I grabbed our mats and jumped on a train bounded for Copenhagen a weekend in late August. The Copenhagen Yoga Festival is an outdoor event where you can try a variety of yoga styles, listen to lectures, snack yummy raw food, meet people from all over the world and even go into the ocean if you want to! It was a great weekend with, maybe, the last hot sun rays of summer. 

Las Salvajes

So, there you have it: my Highlights of 2013 -list! Now, I’m curious about what you enjoyed most this year. Tell me all about it in the comments below :)

 

Happy New Years and Pura Vida

Topp 3 Matställen i Puerto Viejo

En bussresa på omkring fyra timmar sydost om Costa Ricas huvudstad San José tar dig till den karibiska byn Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Detta avslappnade reggae-vibrerande strandhäng och kulinariska paradis är ett måste för den matälskande resenären! Puerto Viejo har en alldeles egen vibe som till stor del utgörs av dess fantastiska kulturella mix. Det afrokaribiska ursprunget är blandat både med Tico (costaricanska) influenser och medhavda kulturer från expats från Europa och USA. Personligen anser jag att just den mångkulturella blandningen utgör en stor del av Puertos vibe. Detta återfinns såklart i maten och för att verkligen ta del av upplevelsen rekommenderar jag att smaka sig runt den lilla byn. Nedan har jag listat tre av mina bästa smultronställen- låt dig väl smakas!

1. Farmers’ Market

På lördagsförmiddagar hålls den lokala marknaden i centrala Puerto Viejo. Ta dig till Casa Cultura och du kommer se den. Det här är stället där jag köper det mesta av kommande veckans mat, inkluderat sådant som inte går att få tag i vanliga butiker. Förutom billig och ekologiskt odlade grönsaker och frukt finns även lokalproducerad ost (även fetaost) och mjölk, tofu, choklad och kokosolja för att nämna några. God och smakrik-även saltad- ost är svårt att hitta i hela landet eftersom costaricaner föredrar sin ost enkel och smaklös, vilket lämpar sig bra till stekning som de ofta använder den till. För den ostälskande Europén kan detta bli påfrestande men lösningen är alltså att ta sig till de lokala marknaderna.

För mig är lördagarna veckans höjdpunkt och utflykten till marknaden blir ofta en halvdagsaktivitet. Människor från närliggande områden åker in till centrum för att sälja och handla och således blir Bondens Marknad en knutpunkt för både mingel och inköp av veckans grönsaker. Blir man långrandig finns det försäljare som erbjuder allt från hemmagjorda vegetariska empanadas till spännande och nyttiga pajer, kakor och juicer. Dessutom kan man köpa miljövänlig och handgjord tvål, kläder och mycket mer. En gång fann jag till och med ekologisk tahini!

Puerto Viejo Farmers' Market

2. CariBean

Du tror förmodligen att du vet vad choklad är: hur choklad ser ut, smakar och tillverkas. Du kanske till och med anser dig föredra ren choklad- mörk och fyllig. Jag garanterar att CariBean kommer få dig att tänka om. Besök den här kaffe- och chokladfarmen och ingen annan choklad kommer någonsin tillfredsställa dig igen (du har blivit varnad!). Du finner återförsäljare av CariBean produkter på flera ställen i stan (bland annat marknaden), men det är på OM Yoga Café i Cocles som det händer. Här kan du köpa hälsosam frukost mellanmål eller lunch. Deras utbud av kakor har en trevlig variation och är bakad av olika kak-magiker från trakten. Men det finns mer! CariBean och Om Yoga Café är dit jag går när jag behöver extra energi och pepp och de ger mig det i form av chokladespresso. För två dollar får du fyllig, smakrik, mörk och len kakao i en shot som fyller kroppen med antioxidanter och ny energi.

Ägarna driver sin kakaofarm ekologiskt hållbar (permaculture), bakom huset, och tillverkar chokladen för hand. Medverka på deras underbara choklad-tour för att lära dig om produktionen, provsmaka oväntade kombinationer och njuta av Puertos bästa utsikt!

3. Bread and Chocolate

Detta frukost och lunch hak är förmodligen Puerto Viejo’s mest berömda restaurang. Jag har vänner på andra sidan landet som pratar om Bread and Chocolate och anser det vara något man absolut inte får missa om man är i närheten. De har givetvis rätt. Saknar du airpressat kaffe efter allt det där lustigt bryggda? Då är BC stället för dig. Välj en chokladrik och kreativ kaka med intressant namn från deras breda sortiment att förtära till. Eller varför inte min personliga lunchfavorit: veggie sandwich. Brödet bakas på plats, är smakrikt, osötat och med utländska mått ett fullkornsbröd. Det finns flera sorters sandwiches att välja bland och alla serveras med antingen frukt, grönsallad eller potatissallad.

Bread and Chocolate har en mysig atmosfär och är därmed ganska litet. Det är dessutom omnämnt i backpackerns bibel Lonely Planet och tenderar att snabbt bli fullsatt under högsäsong, vilket kan vara bra att ha i bakhuvudet när man planerar sitt besök.

 

Who knows the name of these cakes?

Puerto Viejos gator kantas av restauranger och caféer innehållandes alla sorters matkulturer eller rent av fusioner av flera. Långt ifrån alla är bra och många dessutom dyra. Jag hoppas ni får nytta av mina lite annorlunda mattips och om efterfrågan finns kanske jag återkommer med en post särskilt om byns restauranger.

Frågor, funderingar, kommentarer eller vill du lägga till något jag missat? Tryck på ”comments” här under för att bidra! 

 

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